Laws governing backstops?


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Matt304
February 14, 2011, 01:37 PM
So here is the deal. There were some recent complaints against the neighbors shooting range a few miles down the road. Apparently people hiking heard bullets zipping through the woods by them. This seems to happen every couple of years with their range, and who knows if it is really true or if it is someone who simply doesn't like guns.

Anyways, the conservation officer stopped out at our house and was asking for all of our names and info. Apparently collecting info on the case, and examining our shooting range.

Our range faces a different direction by 90 degrees, so there its no concern that we have anything to do with it, from my point of view anyways. The direction we shoot is towards nothing but miles of woods, no roads or houses. Our range is down in a valley, and at the end of the valley we have a hillside.

Now, ever since this officer stopped out, my dad became paranoid, and now he is saying that a friend of mine cannot bring his 50bmg out, because conservation might be "keeping an eye on us", and if they knew a 50bmg was being shot they would try to find something wrong with our backstop configuration.

I think that's a bunch of bull, and I think we should keep shooting whatever and whenever we want.

What do you guys think? I mean, could the conservation ever pull something and say that the hill is not at the proper angle or something odd like that, and basically attempt to do something evil to us because of a backstop?

I feel our range is safe, but my father feels that in the eyes of the law nothing is safe, and that we should now hide all large guns.

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btg3
February 14, 2011, 02:06 PM
It's not your range.
It's your dad's range.
Your dad is responsible.
Your dad makes the rules regarding his range.

Conservation has rather wide lattitude in my state.
You should seek competent legal advice for your state, which may not be had from this forum.

BullfrogKen
February 14, 2011, 02:38 PM
If it's your father's property you're shooting on, he's taking the risk, and he can decide what gets shot there and what doesn't.


50 BMG rounds travel a long way, even after hitting a backstop. And they'll take off at odd angles, too. Angles you would never expect.

Rail Driver
February 14, 2011, 02:48 PM
50 BMG rounds travel a long way, even after hitting a backstop. And they'll take off at odd angles, too. Angles you would never expect.

I can attest to this. About a year ago some friends and I were at the range shooting a .50BMG bolt action (definitely a bruiser... told him to order a better brake!) at about 700 yds at clays. One of the shots fired hit the clay, entered the hillside and apparently hit a rock or some other large immovable object and ricocheted back at the firing position with enough energy remaining to penetrate all the way through an oak 4x4 and lodge halfway through a sheet of 1" plywood about 30 feet away from the 4x4. That is after traveling around 1400 yards and going through what had to be 8 to 10 feet of heavy dirt. The bullet looked like it was folded in half and squished to an almost flat shape. Had the projectile hit any one of us either before or after it went through the 4x4 it would have been fatal.

However, I've also seen .50BMG fired at a hard red brick wall at about 300 yds, probably a 25-30 angle (sharp angle, just off from perpendicular) and simply explode a giant hole in it.

deadin
February 14, 2011, 03:50 PM
It's not the backstop. It's whether or not a bullet can escape your range and impact anwhere you don't own or that people may be hiking, etc.

Birdmang
February 14, 2011, 03:53 PM
Tell your friend to go shoot at buffalo!

Matt304
February 15, 2011, 05:38 AM
Of course, it's always "go look for legal advice elsewhere than this forum".

Whatever happened to people on the High Road being able to provide their good ol 2 cents? Do you really think we are going to go out and hire a lawyer so that a friend can come shoot at our house?

OK, my friend will never go to buffalo. We shoot only at 300 and 500 yards. Buffalo is a 100 yard range.

We will be shooting whatever we want by the end of this year. Bulldozers are coming in and reshaping our hillside, and we will have extremely tall flat-faced backstops at that point. But that's a few months away.

Anyways, my father is the type of person who is very scared of everything. Anyone with authority intimidates the hell out of him, and I am trying to get him to stand up for himself and exercise his right to shoot. I am trying to talk some sense into him instead of letting these people intimidate him. We have a right to shoot our guns, regardless if a range nearby has problems keeping their barrels down. We don't have that problem.

What I am getting at is this.

We have a suitable backstop. What more could we ever need to fire a 50BMG? I should not even have told the rest of the story, because had I just said the above I would have got pages of answers.

The state is Illinois. Someone could help describe the laws without being a lawyer.

Matt304
February 15, 2011, 05:42 AM
50 BMG rounds travel a long way, even after hitting a backstop. And they'll take off at odd angles, too. Angles you would never expect.

So does everyone need to stop shooting their 50BMGs because of the possibilities?

I'm just trying to make sense of what is being said.

Radagast
February 15, 2011, 07:40 AM
No, it means you need to allow a safety zone for richochets to either side and behind the backstop.
If your dept of conservation is in charge of licensing ranges then they should have a range design handbook. Get a copy of it and have a read through.

If they don't have one then check with the NRA. The most basic design is a NATO range template, which assumes no backstop, IIRC you need 2700m clear down range and around 600m across if shooting .308, I've no clue whats required for .50.

Backstops and side berms with the correct face angle and made from the correct material will reduce the richochet / danger zone to a few hundred meters. A proper splatter shield over the targets will reduce the down range danger zone to zero.

There is also the matter of finger off trigger until sights are on the target. Violation of this is probably the number one cause of 'richochets' going over backstops.

btg3
February 15, 2011, 09:33 AM
Here's a link to Illinois DNR Legal Counsel. Over on the right hand side is Compiled Statutes. I find nothing that suggests that rifle ranges on private property are regulated by the state. Pehaps this helps makes your point.

http://dnr.state.il.us/legal/

As for the $.02 you requested, it seems you are whining about not getting your way, are unable to construct a supportive argument on your own, and have difficulty accepting parental authority.

Double Naught Spy
February 15, 2011, 10:02 AM
50 BMG rounds travel a long way, even after hitting a backstop. And they'll take off at odd angles, too. Angles you would never expect.

Unless the .50 BMG round is skipping off the top of the backstop, the round should not be going more than a few hundred yards and that is only if hits something hard to ricochet off of. If the berm is appropriately sloped, the majority of that distance is skyward.

So does everyone need to stop shooting their 50BMGs because of the possibilities?

I'm just trying to make sense of what is being said.

No, people don't need to stop shooting their .50 BMGs because of the possibilities, but they do need to be shooting them on ranges and property that will contain the rounds.

I have two ranges. One is an above ground rifle range and the other is a multi-use range inside of a deep ravine backed up by over 30 feet of elevation increase of the above-ravine ground level and many acres of trees. Trees are not an appropriate backstop, but they do manage to stop or slow some errant rounds.

Anyway, I won't shoot my .50 BMG on my rifle range for the simple reason that there are several homes and buildings within 1-2 degrees of the range's direction orientation and within the maximum range of the round should a round be inadvertantly be fired over the backstop. The homes and buildings that I know about are based on what I have found from Google Earth. That doesn't include any that have been built since the last time aerial photoes were taken of the area.

BullfrogKen
February 15, 2011, 10:16 AM
So does everyone need to stop shooting their 50BMGs because of the possibilities?

I'm just trying to make sense of what is being said.

This isn't a gun's rights issue. This is a safety issue. 50 BMG will go a long way. When I was at Lejeune there was only one approved range for 50 BMG. The entire 2nd Marine Division and East Coast School of Infantry all had to share it. As I recall it was oriented to have the ocean as the backstop.


I am trying to get him to stand up for himself and exercise his right to shoot.

Right to shoot? This isn't about a right to shoot. It's about an appropriate location for a range. And in the end, it's his risk not yours. You get to decide what happens on your property, and this doesn't sound like yours.

There's no way you could make this sound good. Respect his decision.

Blackbeard
February 15, 2011, 10:43 AM
Anyways, my father is the type of person who is very scared of everything. Anyone with authority intimidates the hell out of him, and I am trying to get him to stand up for himself and exercise his right to shoot. I am trying to talk some sense into him instead of letting these people intimidate him. We have a right to shoot our guns, regardless if a range nearby has problems keeping their barrels down. We don't have that problem.

You have the right to keep and bear arms. Shooting is an entirely different matter. I've never heard anyone claim a constitutional right to shoot. You have a right to enjoy your property so long as it doesn't affect your neighbors. If an activity affects, or could affect, a neighbor's enjoyment of his property, it can and should be limited.

gbw
February 15, 2011, 11:03 AM
I'm pretty much in agreement that the OP should stop whining at his father, do his own legal research, purchase his own land, build his own range, and shoot whatever he feels like whenever he feels like it - legally.

If an activity affects, or could affect, a neighbor's enjoyment of his property, it can and should be limited.

Now this is interesting, especially the 'could affect' phrase. Who decides whether or not one is affecting a neighbor's enjoyment, or "could affect" it, and how is the limiting done and by whom?

Matt304
February 15, 2011, 02:05 PM
Pehaps this helps makes your point.

http://dnr.state.il.us/legal/

I showed him the link, and it basically reaffirmed what I had been saying. He really just wanted to see the laws on paper.

And yeah, so what if I asked for help on legal research? Am I inferior to you people who can go out on Google, and find the link needed by using 2 keywords, even though I tried that first? I mean, isn't that one of the whole ideas of the internet, networking to obtain info, be it by searching or by social conversation? Would you have scolded me had I saw you at a range and asked you this question in person? Do you guys ever ask questions to anyone? You should be scolded for not doing your own research, if so.

"Oh, he's such a whiny baby, look at him out doing research after his father said, no."

"If he was my boy, I'd ground him!"

You guys probably have done the role playing in your mind you sound so agitated that I'm here asking this. You should listen to yourselves! Judge, judge, judge. That's all you people do. You people whine more than I ever could.

You guys know very little about me. You know even less about our range. We have the largest, most open area of land, without roads or houses behind the range, that I have yet to see in our county. We have the most suitable place to fire 50BMGs if there ever was one. So while you all envision your evil scenario of BMGs being fired toward houses, or whatever the heck you have going on in your minds that makes you so pissed off over nothing, I'll be out shooting. :neener:

Matt304
February 15, 2011, 02:13 PM
I'm pretty much in agreement that the OP should stop whining at his father, do his own legal research, purchase his own land, build his own range, and shoot whatever he feels like whenever he feels like it - legally.

Ah, that's right, you know nothing about me!

Had you known anything about me, you would have known that I built this range, and help pay for this land.

Well what a catastrophe now!

Sorry that when I say "father", you all picture me as a 16 year old high school kid who gets lunch money from daddy, instead of someone who has support in the whole matter.

Matt304
February 15, 2011, 02:24 PM
If an activity affects, or could affect, a neighbor's enjoyment of his property, it can and should be limited.

Again, no neighbors. Well, there are, actually, but the first neighbor arrives at 4 miles downrange.

At this point, it sounds like you all have developed your own models of the situation. Keep in mind that the model you have in your mind may be entirely incorrect.

Rail Driver
February 15, 2011, 02:35 PM
Sorry that when I say "father", you all picture me as 16 year old high school kid who gets lunch money from daddy.

I don't think it's necessarily the fact that you mentioned that it's your dad's land, it's the fact that you appear to not have enough respect for your father's decisions (regardless of the fact that you may or may not contribute to the upkeep of the land) considering it's his name on the deed, and his severe financial liability and possibly his prison sentence if someone ends up hit by a ricochet or errant shot, even if it's just someone hiking through the woods a mile away where you have no way of knowing they're there and they have no way of knowing you're a mile away shooting guns.

Also, your manner of "speech" implies a lower level of maturity. Starting with your original post, the way you worded it pretty much conveys a "my daddy took my toys from me and I'm mad so I'm gonna be a P.I.T.A. until he gives it back" attitude. After that, the way you responded to the advice given showed that not only are you only asking in order to hear what you want to hear. As far as your comment about hiring a lawyer, you do NOT have to hire a lawyer for a simple legal question such as yours as MOST of them that are familiar with the relevant laws will simply answer your question if they're not busy at the moment.

I could go on and say more, but I have a feeling that it will simply degenerate this thread further, and I feel that the advice given already is good advice. Good luck with your shooting endeavors and above all BE SAFE. Don't think just about your own safety, but about the safety of people, animals and property downrange. Think of the mess you would have to deal with if one of your shots that happens to miss or fully penetrate the backstop took out an endangered animal with a radio tag, or somebody's livestock, or worse still the hiker I mentioned in the first part of my post.

X-Rap
February 15, 2011, 02:38 PM
You need to worry about the law of your bullet hitting someone more than any backstop. There is no perfect backstop so if you have one excape your property you will be held accountable.

alsaqr
February 15, 2011, 03:16 PM
You need to worry about the law of your bullet hitting someone more than any backstop. There is no perfect backstop so if you have one excape your property you will be held accountable.

+1

Army Regulation 385-63 is the military manual for firing range safety. See Figure 6-1, page 26 for a depiction of a surface danger zone for small arms.
See Table 6-1, page 24 for the minimum thickeness of material required to stop a .50 caliber MG bullet.

Now go to Table B-1, page 174 and find out that the maximum range for .50 caliber ball ammo is 6,500 meters=7,107 yards=21,000+ feet.


http://www.marines.mil/news/publications/Documents/DA%20PAM%20385-63.pdf

The US military does not allow anyone down range for a distance of 6,500 meters when .50 ball ammo is being fired-period: The backstop does not figure into the equation at all.


IMO: The father of the OP has the right to disallow the firing of a rifle chambered for .50 caliber MG ammo on his range: It's his range and his liability if it goes wrong. The OP should respect that right.

mbogo
February 15, 2011, 03:31 PM
First, contact an Illinois pro-2A organization (like isra.org) or the National Shooting Sports Foundation (nssf.org) to find out who the regulatory body for range is in your state (if there is one). Then, contact that body to obtain a copy of their regs.

It is not inconceivable that DNR has NO authority, and the visit by the conservation officer was an attempt to intimidate your father.

mbogo

deadin
February 15, 2011, 03:35 PM
Does all of the land between your "range" and the neighbor belong to you or your father? If not, you can't control access to it and the danger exists.

Matt304
February 15, 2011, 04:54 PM
I don't think it's necessarily the fact that you mentioned that it's your dad's land, it's the fact that you appear to not have enough respect for your father's decisions (regardless of the fact that you may or may not contribute to the upkeep of the land) considering it's his name on the deed, and his severe financial liability and possibly his prison sentence if someone ends up hit by a ricochet or errant shot, even if it's just someone hiking through the woods a mile away where you have no way of knowing they're there and they have no way of knowing you're a mile away shooting guns.

Also, your manner of "speech" implies a lower level of maturity. Starting with your original post, the way you worded it pretty much conveys a "my daddy took my toys from me and I'm mad so I'm gonna be a P.I.T.A. until he gives it back" attitude. After that, the way you responded to the advice given showed that not only are you only asking in order to hear what you want to hear. As far as your comment about hiring a lawyer, you do NOT have to hire a lawyer for a simple legal question such as yours as MOST of them that are familiar with the relevant laws will simply answer your question if they're not busy at the moment.

I could go on and say more, but I have a feeling that it will simply degenerate this thread further, and I feel that the advice given already is good advice. Good luck with your shooting endeavors and above all BE SAFE. Don't think just about your own safety, but about the safety of people, animals and property downrange. Think of the mess you would have to deal with if one of your shots that happens to miss or fully penetrate the backstop took out an endangered animal with a radio tag, or somebody's livestock, or worse still the hiker I mentioned in the first part of my post.

I came here simply asking for some information about backstops. I told the entire situation just so those here who may be educated enough in range regulations could possibly say, "this is what you and your father may have to do to protect your range and continue firing large calibers."

I know that I can do my own research and I know how it is done. However, at the end of my research, something may be invalid or incomplete. I thought that the expertise of someone here at the forum could possibly be a better source to get this information from, because they may have been through countless situations like mine in the past, where they have covered this same research in the past and have such information already compiled.

Apparently that was a mistake, looking for help in this forum that is. All it got me was people telling me that I am whiny and immature. Gee, thanks. That was exactly the advice I was looking for.

You say that my manner of speech in the first post implies that I am conveying a "my daddy took my toys from me and I'm mad so I'm gonna be a P.I.T.A. until he gives it back" attitude. Maybe you simply took me wrong, and did not know it. It was at the point when I said, "I think that's a bunch of bull, and I think we should keep shooting whatever and whenever we want", that changed the tone of the post. See, you probably thought I was saying my dads opinion is a bunch of bull. I wasn't saying that at all. I was implying that I do not think the configuration of our backstop provided a means for a legal attack. Realize that your mindset alone can somewhat shape the attitude you are conceiving from another online, and that attitude may not be the one I am conveying in reality. It's hard to detect emotions at times over the internet. I won't hold it against you.

On another note, did it ever occur to you that persistence in a relationship is not always a bad thing? What if everyone was to simply take orders and never rebel against a decision? My simple point is that some of you are making this sound a lot worse than it actually is in reality. Did it occur to you that maybe in the light of trying to get my toys back, all I was attempting to do was provide correct information on the matter? I never said I was right, not once. I said "this is what I think, this is what he thinks". You are the ones who turned it into a negative debate, when everything was in good light. You say I wanted to hear a certain answer. Well, naturally that would be a lie if I said I did not want to hear an answer with benefit to my side of the argument. Though, there are a few routes the debate could take to actually going somewhere. You could debate with evidence, and legal possibilities. Or, you could debate with emotions, and what you feel about a persons decision and opinions, without using any such evidence. This is what some of you have done. You've simply picked apart my character, instead of producing any real debate about the legality of backstop configurations.

As you tell yourself that actions A, B, and C equate to immature acts by another person, you commit strikingly similar immature acts on other levels yourself. You've created your own paradox.

I've gained about enough help in this thread as I'll ever get. I thank the couple of people who provided actual input that wasn't immature and personally biased.

Sam1911
February 15, 2011, 04:58 PM
Glad we all understand each other now.

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